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When One’s Doubts Become World News

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway. –Mother Teresa

This is one of my favorite quotes from Mother Teresa. I believe the woman lived what she wrote. But, as we all know by now, she also wrote of her doubts, and she questioned her role in God’s Plan and work.

But her doubts apparently didn’t shut down her service to others. Doubts and all, she was a remarkable woman with a humble spirit and a powerful voice. Whether she ever reaches sainthood or not, it’s fair to say she’s about the closest thing to a saint that has lived in our lifetime.  

Which brings a question: Do we really need to know what she shared in her diaries and in her personal letters? Why shouldn’t secret questions and thoughts stay that way?

Doubts don’t diminish our humanity; they make it honest. Doubt is a human condition, so what’s wrong with being human?

Abraham Lincoln suffered angst and doubt most every day he was president. Yet he is regarded as one of our greatest leaders and humanitarians of all time. His doubts caused him private pain … not public failure.

As they say, “It’s lonely at the top.” And, I suppose, those at the top have their doubts as regularly as they have their meals.

Years ago I worked with a young lady in residential treatment. She had been physically and sexually abused in her home for years before she was finally removed and placed into treatment. She did well, very well. Yet, when she left treatment, left the state, went to work, went to college, married and had a family, doubts plagued her daily.

“How do I know I’m a good mother?” she would ask me by telephone. “I’m doing the best I can, yet I had no model for what a good mom is. I don’t want to mess up.”

I reassured her that, from all accounts, she was doing well. I told her not to fret so about it. But, of course, she fretted anyway.

Four children later she became more comfortable with being a parent.  She has done very, very well in her marriage and in her business. But none of it had been easy.

Doubts. They don’t make us imperfect.

They just make us real.

James Sutton, Psychologist

September 15, 2007 Posted by | adversity, Counselors, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | 2 Comments